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Everything posted by Andre

  1. Vintage update: Tokaji, Hungaria; Romania The rainy weather at the end of the European summer did little to allow the proper ripening of the grapes in many eras in Europe. The massive rains around the area of Arad, Romania resulted in very poor quality grapes mostly doomed to represent the cheap plonk that had been flowing from this country for the last thirty years. Waiting until nearly early November in Tokaji, Hungary, did little to show the slightest hints of Botrytis attacking the local Furmint, Harslevelu or Yellow Muscat. Although rain had subsided in October, the conditions were far from optimal for the Noble Rot. This may pause a problem as the last fine vintage of Tokaji was 1999. Friends returning from North-Western Italy namely the Barolo villages informed me of heavy rains during October in the vine areas as well.
  2. Andre

    1989 and 1990 Bordeaux

    What a wonderful tasting, Chapeau! The Grand vin de Leoville Las Cases 1990 has quite a few years to go. Same like the 1986 vintage, these wines need another three to five years to reach their peak and if drunk sooner, mind that they are very slow to open. Should you have a 1989, This one can certainly be enjoyed now.
  3. Andre

    Announcing Wine 201

    Mary and Brad, this is great stuff. Looking into the other dimensions of wine may be interesting as well e.g.: The need to relax in order to enjoy a wine The many effects of wine on the drinker: relaxing, intoxicating.... Wine and food side effects: wine or food turning sour, bitter, astringent.... Debating wine ageing and the modern wine techniques. Wine tasting. Are we being mislead and missing the point ? Wine etiquette - learning from the habits of the past. Wine and the modern man. The decreasing wine consumption world wide and what can we wine lovers do about it. Properly serving wine depending on location and the importance of atmosphere. There are endless topics from the philosophical prespective.
  4. These are wonderful notes ! An excellent choice of wine professionally described. I am not sure if the wines you have tasted had a proper rest before you tasted them. The Rancuia are indeed massive. Did the mistake of checking out on the 1999 and it was tight shut. The 1990 Riserva by Carpinetto is their first show off in Chianti. I had this wine many times and enjoyed its depth, yet, it seems the one you had tasted was in a much better condition. No Tuscan Cabernet I had tasted can stand up to the Sangiovese. Their marriage in the Campaccio will not last. I fail to understand the idea behind the Sangioveto. I will be waiting on my 1997s no less than ten years before I taste again and your post on the 1990 is not promising. Thanks again for the great notes .
  5. Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers, Dominique Laurent 1997 Sometims we stare and wines that should be stored for some time and give it a shot anyway. It is nice to have a wine of fine quality ready to drink at an early age. I guess this is the advantage of 1997. Pale reddish center moving into lighter rims. Very aromatic appealing ripe Burgundy nose focusing on black cherries, mild spice and a consistent combination of both. Minutes later and some more soft fruity aromas develop with a buttery texture and topped with mild vanilla. The nose is complex and seems to last a very long time. Lingering on the act of smelling before tasting is simply a pleasure when it comes to this wine. Thirty minutes later and the nose keeps developing. – wow!! In the mouth the wine is full-bodied, ripe filled with red cherry flavors and topped with a black cherry liquer, complimenting spice and the perfect amount of acidity. The acidity of this fine wine will guarantee its development into an even more complex Cazetiers even five years from now.
  6. I wondr if in France anyone has anything resembling a plan - it sure does not look it. The world is in need of simple, fairly priced well made wines of distinctive regional character and with a logical percentage of alcohol not exceeding 12.5% for an everyday enjoyment and to fix the snobbish attitude the wine world brought upon itself. There is little wine countries like Australia can help with and whomever supports the blind wine critics. France is a good option should the farmers be guided to fill this gap and by no means should it be thriugh lower yields driving them to concentrated alcoholic so called table wines.
  7. Andre

    1988 Las Cases

    Some time ago I stocked up on the Las Cases 1983 and 1986. I did not expect any bright future for the 1988 - I am glad to see I was wrong. Thanks for the notes and may your clients' fine taste in wine bring in some more TN's
  8. Andre

    Under the Tuscan Sun

    Wonderful to read and thanks for sharing. The 1990 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale Gold Label is quite a surprise, I had mine nearly three tears ago with little hope for further development - perhaps they did not travel well.
  9. Andre

    Summer food and wine

    Sory for the late response John, Greece is a very old style wine country rapidly shifting into the the 21st century. I value its tradtion and have lots of respect for those domestic farmers making wines, Souma, Raki, Tsekothia and the like. If you inform me about the Greek producers in your neighborhood - I can be more helpfull, otherwise try: Hatzimichali, Karas, Skouras, Chateau Lazaridi and Emery. Try to try the local varietals such as Assertico for whites and Aghiorghitico and xynomavro for reds. Enjoy.
  10. Andre

    Wines of Lebanon

    Reading some of the articles of Mr. Karam I second Daniel's opinion on this book. Imagine I have to buy this book from the States and not from Lebanon although it is but a couple of hours drive from my home in Israel. I am quite sure peace in my region will it least be cheaper and surely more logical.
  11. Andre

    Summer food and wine

    John Hi, I know Retsina, drink Retsina on occasions and am carefull to kill any wine, namely Greek [My wife is Greek] yet, Tsantali's version should be outlawed, the winemaker and witnesses have their memories erased and file a formal appology to all other Retsina producers. They are definitely off the Mondovino 2 recommended list!
  12. Tasted August 11th 2005. A good indication of a better restaurant is their alternating seasonal menues. Unfortunately, little attention is paid to the wines that should accompany the updated food. Retsina Tsantali, Greece. It would be a shame to term this as wine and is unfit for human consumption. Semillon Chardonnay WillowGlen, De Bortoli 2004 Slightly more oaky than their previous versions, yet well tuned and with a good texture. Best match: fried fish. Riesling, Ockenheimer Laberstall Spatlese, Weingut Merz 2000. Although the label states trocken [dry] this medium dry portrays a sweet nose, fine depth and structure and a fair amount of acidity. A good expression of a late vintage. Best match: sharp acidic cheese with fresh figs. Gewurztraminer Villiera, Soth Africa 2003. Jeff Grier of Villiera is consistantly improving his Gewurzt. Highly perfumed with hints of mild spice, rose water and lychee. A fine texture stresing the herbs and spice on the finish. Best match: Asian noodels of a fairly wide range of flavors. Lambrusco Daunia Toser, Italy. Nothing to dicscuss in the case of this med. Dry frizante red. Best match: An all around drink to be served cold. Valpolicella Vlpantena Pasqua 2003. This wine consists of just the right amount of greenish flavors to give its fruity character a more siruis aspect. Best match: Enjoy slightly chilled with your barbecue. Brouilly Les Saburins, Louis Latour 2002. Finess and class are good terms for this soft and gentle wine. Best match: A young goat cheese will do fine, mind that it should not be too acidic. Cabernet Sauvignon Vinas del Vero, Somontano 2000. A medium bodied mature and very well balanced wine. Best match: A good steak. Rioja Marques de Caceres, Vendimia Seleccionada 2000. Enjoy the 2000 over the supposedly better 2001 vintage as this Crianza is slightly softer with a very good typical earthy, mature oak texture and with plenty of depth. Best match: Carpaccio of veal with a touch of Balsami and chives of Reggiano. The complexity of this wine allows it also to be a good match to any veal and herb combination. Quoting a voice from the past: "remember, always play with your food" and I may add "',and wine"
  13. Thank you and welcome, I find it hard to term Guigal as a "basic negociant" as he may prove to be much better than many others in his field and his records starting from the seventies are an impressive proof for that.
  14. Andre


    I value your opinion John, I assume this movie was termed as a documentary although I agree with you that the viewer can be easily mislead. I try to analyse things through the wines. I prefer Gassac as is and am Glad there is no New World influence or even potential of. The movie does point out the influence of the "experts" on the "makers" an act that may yield some dangrous consequences. We share the same view on most of the points you have skillfully ponted out.
  15. Too much of our life involves planning. This time I just let it fllow... Cote-Rotie Brune et Blonde, E. Guigal 1998. Dark red cherry color with plenty of depth. On the nose: gentle soft fruit, dominating oak, raspberries, ripe plums and some more oak to finish this impression. Smooth enrty with sharp acidity, peppery with some citrus flavors. Dominating spice on the finish allow little fruit expression. Young and still closed now dominated by oak and spice. Drink 2007-2012. Tasted August 5th 2005. Hermitage E. Guigal 1980. Brick red with lighter rims and considerable depth. Dry earthy aromas rounded with sweet dried fruits and hints of leather. Several more minutes and this beautiful nose continues to develop into a ripe and complex mature wine. Excellent balance with toasted oak and mild buttery bouquet. Smooth entrane with still a fine acidity, medium bodied, soft tannins and a consistant and long finish. Classic aged Hermitage flavors are very well expressed in this wine. Gentle sweet and complex with a long impressive finish. This is a great drinking mature Rhone wine that was well worth the long anticipation. Drink 2005-2007. Tasted August 5th 2005 Castas do Carneiro Castelao e Tinta Roriz, Estremadura 1998. Dark deep intense red color with an almost black center. Soft on the entrance with a good concentration of red berries and plums mixed with assorted spice flavors namely pepper and nutmeg. Plums and cherries dominate the concentrated fruit and are coated with a fair amount of spice and backed up by good back bone. Acidity. Medium bodied with chewy tannins and a typivcal balance between spice and fruit. The wine becomes softer after 25 minutes. Drink 2005-2007. Tasted August 5th 2005 Chateau Haut Veyrac, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 1994 Lighter red moving into brick colored rim. Slow to open with a bit of dust coating the mild spice and slowly immerging fruit. A medium bodied wine wih a mildly toasted finish with enough acidity to back up the spicy and appealing raspberry syrup flavors. Perhaps too soft on the entry now that the wine had lost its body and complexity in need of no less than 30 minutes of patience for the raspberry to surface. A basic well-rounded Saint-Emilion with a mild fruity character. Drink now. Tasted August 5th 2005. Chateau Belgrave, Grand Cru Classe Haut Medoc 1990Dark berries with some mild spice and cassis Medium + body, sharp flavors with a mild and round acidity. Complex gentle and very pleasant showing excellent balance. Ripe, drinking beautifully and enjoyable. Drink 2005-2006. Tasted August 5th 2005.
  16. Andre


    John Hi, I have also watched the movie with mixed emotions in the company of at least 30 winemakers. M. Guibert of Gassac is no saint, yet, his cause is worth our attention. Many "newcomers" to the wine industry are there to seek remedy for their soul. Some might argue that the Pax Romana, during Roman times, was based on that issue [working the land a opposed to war and politics, specifically the cultivation of vines]. I think it wrong to judge their past, as long as their future is paved with good intentions. Nossiter's movie may be annoying in many ways starting with the hand camera that gets on the nerves and ends with discussing Parker's pets and their farting habits. The wine industry involves money, power and politics, there is nothing "clean" about it, as well pointed out by your reply and Mr. Nossiter's point of view as expressed in Mondovino.
  17. Andre

    Chilean Pinot Noir

    I have tastrd and enjoyed several Chilean Pinot from: Concha Y Toro, Castillo de Mollina Reserva and Montes. Montes rules and is very well priced. Some others like the Undurraga - I did not enjoy [wrong use of oak namely]
  18. I guess these wines will not make it to the "wow" threads: Hermitage La Sizeranne, M. Chapoutier 1996 This is perhaps my tenth time I taste the wine with little chance of finding any possibility for development. A rather boring and one dimensional faily concentrated Hermirage with little character. Hermitage La Chapelle Paul Jaboulet Aine’ 1990. PJA is quite famous for his La Chapelle, yet getting down to the bottom of this wine was too easy. The wine failed to gain complexity and develop flavors after opening. Maybe too tired but I doubt the wine from the first place. Hermitage La Chapelle, Paul Jaboulet Aine’ 1994 Consistant disappointments from this overindulged wine did not stop me from giving it yet another try. Lighter red with some depth moving towards a brick color at the rim. Toasted hazelnuts with some raspberries and blueberiies blends in with plum confiture. Soft on the entry with some dried peaches mixed with some raspberry syrup and and a dominant spicy finish. This wine lacks the layers and complexity one would expect from the “La Chapelle” reputation. A medium bodied fairly made wine to be consumed 2005-2006. Chateau Belgrave Grand Cru Classe’Hautb Medoc 1990. Should 1990 be a great Bordeaux year – this wine will be the one to ruin its reputation. Dry earthy with aged oak fairly blended in but without a sign for layers or development in the glass. Perhaps should have been enjoyed earlier. Hermitage Blanc Chevalier de Stיrimberg Paul Jaboulet Aine’1996 Fresh mediterranean fish and this wine follows a 1991 Chardonnay Beringer and a 1993 Hermitage Blanc by Chave. Fruity fat with some concentration but lacks balance, finess and harmony. Almost a modern style Hermitage blanc that failed to deliver the source of its grapes. Drink now – 2007.
  19. Andre


    The Vacuvin is great with medium to full bodied wines but seems less eficient when it comes to lighter bodied wines. I am very much for the use of Vacuvin also when combined with refrigiration. Pumping more than a few times may lead to loss of the fresher aromas in the wine. That can happen when the bottle of wine is nearly empty or when taking out small amounts from the wine. Smaller containers or "always full" are a good solution as well. It is important to note that once we pored from the bottle, oxygen had been invited in and change will be slower due to colder temperatures. In case of full bodied wine this controlled measure [once Vacuvin is used]may be welcome also at room temperature.
  20. I am with Craig on this one. Yet, I would never buy a wine from someone who tells you to drink it within a month or so. Try the "Tokaji Exclusif" wine shop in Budapest - those guys are real professionals.
  21. I have enjoyed the Montiano 1997 several times and it seems a much better choice than the 1996. Falesco is an artist! Fine choice of wines and thanks for the notes.
  22. Andre

    Anything but Chardonnay?

    White Burgundy is a very good example of Chard. flavors. I love and respect many of them.
  23. Andre

    Tasting Italian Tradition

    Thanks John, I am not familiar with the S F wine guide and will be looking into it. Greetings Craig, We continue to agree. Once the customers will seek the traditional flavors, those who will survive this fashionable yet short thinking era, will be the ones who preserve Italy's authentic flavors. They are like politicians in that sense. They have the power and will do anything to keep it. Mondovino had a nice peace on Frescobaldi in that sense. Pasqua is nothing but a merchant producing from all over Italy, yet, wines like the Insolia from Sicily and Valpolicella are quite traditional in their flavors. Morgante are doing a good job on their Nero D'Avola and their small size will enable them to continue doing so. Argiolas had enabled the export of Sarignan flavors elswhere than the tourists crowded at their beaches. I was not impressed with their "big" wines so much as from their simple Vermentino - let us direct them with their marketing and the whole island might profit. Cervaro is one of the very few authentic Antinori terroir expressions. The new generation again needs to be guided. Chiarlo loves the show. This is both reflected in his vineyards and wines. Note his new joint venture with other producers to make a "super-wine". That's what we need - another Opus One.... Carpineto are talented modern winemakers yet their Montepulciano may be the closest thing to the flavors of the vineyards. The wine I tasted was surely in oak - can't miss that. No doubt Carpineto is probably the extremist from this bunch. Campogiovanni are consistantly doing a very good job and I salut them. Craig, This is a fight worth fighting on all frontiers and the main battle field are the dining rooms.
  24. Andre

    Spanish White Wine

    Compliments on the menu, -Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme & Goat's Cheese on Puff Pastry A well chilled Rosado of a dry charactereither 2003or 2004 preferablty Grenache based. -Lemon/rosemary/roasted garlic with sun-dried olive marinated BBQ'd chicken skewers (marinated, BBQ'd, cooled and then marinated in fresh marinade till serving time, to be flashed before serving, or maybe I will serve them cold depending on the weather and the time line) A nice dry Albarino from Navarra one or two years old like Lagar dl Cervaro -Prawn Skewers done in the same way as above with a different marinade... Rueda whites such as the Marqiis de Riscal -Roasted Asparagus wrapped with Serrano Ham Try the reds from Jumilla such as the Senorio del Condestable Reserva 1998/1999 -Portobello and Crimini Mushroom Pizza with Porcini Powder and some sort of cheese that I can't remember, before I froze it two weeks ago....maybe pecorino? The Gaudium from Marques de Caceres 1994 could be a great match [check the price on this one]. Selection Especial Muga 1996 might be a slightly cheaper substitute. Blueberry Limoncello Tiramisu made of course with home-made, egullet approved, Limoncello Can't beat the egullet choice can we now. Enjoy.
  25. Classic Italian Wine Tasting Special Reserve June 16th 2005 Italy, the world’s largest wine producer, may be the first to suffer from the wine globalization process washing vineyards and wineries like an unstoppable Tsunami. The large amounts of wine produced and Italy’s reliance on export are driving tradition, character and variation into financial black wholes of no return. Small producers are blinded by momentary dollar signs flashed in front of their eyes in exhibitions like Vinitaly, and unique areas are abused by powerful investers with one thing on mind. Wine tasters are mislead to term wines as fruity, acidic or tannic; neglecting the geological flavors and the complexity of taste. The very basic ingredients of the Mediterranean cuisine flavors, spices and herbs, are pushed aside by seductive fruits to match modern yet one dimensional and often shallow nouveau wines. Magnificent flavors of spices, herbs, minerals and nuts are either neglected or ill matched. The new world wine making techniques are well aware of this convenient situation and are quick to abuse it. Following is a tasting of some wines that reflect a somehow surviving tradition of Italian classic flavors tasted June 16th 2005. Insolia-Chardonnay, Sicily, Pasqua 2002. Take the wines nearly golden color and write Insolia on the label, then try to sell the wine, Not easy. The Chardonnay on the label may have aided the sales of this wine but, luckily, had little effect on the Insolia. A medium bodied complex texture backed up by mild acidity and a pleasant roughness created by a combination of fresh Mediterranean herbs and soft spice. The aftertaste is dominated by mild spice and fresh green nuts. Not one bit of fruit is showing at this stage allowing a full expression of the Insolia and providing one of the best partnerships to Mediterranean fish. Drink 2005-2006. Costamolina,Vermentino di Sardegna, Argiolas 2002. Shifting from the third largest Mediterranean Island to the fourth largest, the resemblance is of regional character. Lighter and smoother than the Sicilian Insolia in the mouth, this wine is of a round character smooth gentle herbs and a rough spicy finish that seems to linger for quite a bit. May be less enjoyable on its own but proves wonderful with food. A fresh Plat de Mere on Ice would be a fine accompaniment for the Vermentino Drink 2005. Cervaro, Antinori 1996 The oak had finally subsided on this one and now proves as massive by all means. 7-8 seconds in the mouth and this giant explodes with plenty of gentle flavors of dried fruits, mild herbs and mild spice that creates the complexity of this unique wine. The oak was a bit dominant in the aftertaste and remained so for some time. This is a long complex, ripe combination of a more earthy Chardonnay and Greccheto currently achieving perfect Balance. Enjoy on its own or with an aged Pecorino Sardo. Drink 2005-2011. Valpolicella Valpantena Pasqua 2002 A medium to light bodied distinctively simple wine with just the right amount of green and spicy flavors to provide some interest and a food friendly combination. Fresh pasta in a creamy herb sauce will do very nicely with the Valpantena. Drink 2005. Barbera d’Asti Michelle Chiarlo 2001 Remaining in the North of Italy, Chiarlo’s Barbera may prove the exact opposite to jammy new world wines. Sharp distinctive flavors backed up by a massive acidity, soft barely ripening berries and a herb dominated finish. Medium bodied yet well expressed with enough acidity to keep this wine two more years. Tartuffe flavored Caciota, a fine Reggiano over 3 years old or a well-tuned Carpaccio are a good match to this Asti. Drink 2005-2008. Chianti Castiglioni 2000 A well structured and perfectly balanced Chianti with mild spicy oak, good acidity and complimenting dried peaches. The wine proves a bit soft due to age and should be consumed soon. Try it with pasta and basil. Drink now. Nero D’Avola Morgante 2001 This grape variety tends to have a fairly shallow first impression driving producers to combine it with shiraz or cabernet. Morgante’s small size and good marketing allows this expression of 100% Nero D’avola providing a soft medium bodied feel ending with some pleasantly bitter notes. Breathing allowed some more balance though a good steak with white wine mushroom sauce would have complimented the wine quite nicely. Rosso di Montepulciano Carpineto 2002 A fine creation by Carpineto providing character, strength and complexity wrapping this fairly medium bodied wine. The oak is standing out more than it should but I believe Carpineto intended it to be a part of the show with the correct oak used to join the roughness of the young Canaiolo. Beautifully drinking after proper breathing and will remain so a couple or so years. Enjoy with a good grilled steak. Brunello di Montalcino Campogiovanni 1999There are many reasons not to open a young Brunello but Campogiovanni seem to master the word balance. A beautiful nose with hints and refection of a great Brunello, soft spice, mild oak, fresh and dried herbs, all complimented by blueberry and raspberry juice softly immerging after a few minutes of air. The wine continued to evolve shifting from herbs to fruits and spice revealing layers and complexity. Amazing balance controls the explosions of flavors in the mouth. Layers of soft and hard tannins are complimented by soft spice, dried herbs, tobacco and traces of dried fruits. The fine acidity of this wine will allow further development of the ripe flavors until 2010. A long finish turn this enchanting wine even more enjoyable. Drink 2008-20012. I pray that ego and merchants will lead the distinctive flavors of the Italian wine to better-controlled smaller quantities with as little need as possible to profit from mass production
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